Required Reading

The 10 most read books in the world (in the last 50 years) (via GalleyCat)

This week, top 10 lists for 2012, the meaning of middlebrow, Italian church art goes online, the best street art in LA and NYC, and more.

  To start things off, a major online database of the Italian Catholic Church’s art and artefacts (www.chiesacattolica.it/beweb) went live this month. According to The Art Newspaper:

The website contains almost 3.5m objects, from paintings and sculptures to ornaments, crucifixes, altarpieces and other items belonging to some of Italy’s 63,773 churches in 216 dioceses. The database will be subject regularly updated. Thousands of works held in the churches of certain dioceses, such as those of Florence and Naples, are still to be catalogued.

Somewhat related: “Did you know Google is working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to put a number of ancient manuscripts online. Texts available at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library include the earliest known copies of the book of Deuteronomy and part of the book of Genesis.” (via Paris Review)

  Is the Art Market a Bubble? A collector chimes in at Art Market Monitor:

I, for one, do not see any “bubble” as far as post-war art is concerned. What you have are basically micro-markets which are tightly controlled by a few players, or not.

… Get past the small group of artists who have key players supporting the market and you get a better sense of the market. Take Philip Guston: he is not backed by anybody. So when a Guston comes to the market, be it good or average, they usually barely make the lower estimate (unless the estimate is unrealistically low), but they quietly sell.

  Who gets tired of talking about the topic of “middlebrow” and what that means? Not me, that’s for sure. This essay by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar explores some new distinctions:

But now I wonder if there’s also something new. Not middlebrow, not highbrow (we still don’t have an avant-garde to speak of), but halfway in between. Call it upper middle brow. The new form is infinitely subtler than Midcult. It is post- rather than pre-ironic, its sentimentality hidden by a veil of cool. It is edgy, clever, knowing, stylish, and formally inventive. It is Jonathan Lethem, Wes Anderson,Lost in TranslationGirls, Stewart/Colbert, TheNew YorkerThis American Lifeand the whole empire of quirk, and the films that should have won the Oscars (the films you’re not sure whether to call films or movies).

I particularly love the comments.

  Some pretty cool top 10 (or so) lists from the year:

  100 diagrams that changed the world … like Ptolemy’s World Map (2nd C. ACE), Abu Rayhan al-Biruni’s 1019 ACE illustration of a lunar eclipse, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (c. 1487) …

  LAist published their take on the best street art in Los Angeles for 2012, and their sister publication in New York, Gothamist, published New York’s best street art from the last year. I think it’s interesting to see the different styles that each city attracts (many of the artists are not residents of either city).

  Did you see The New York Times‘ HUGELY popular and applauded (except for the awkward ads) “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” story? It has set a new bar for interactive news stories.

  The ten most popular locations for Instagram photos? Well, two Thai sites (surprisingly) top the list:

  1. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ in Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California
  4. Times Square in New York City
  5. AT&T Park in San Francisco
  6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  7. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
  8. Eiffel Tower in Paris
  9. Staples Center in Los Angeles
  10. Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles

  The battle over Thomas Kinkade’s estate has been decided in a secret deal.

  And, not to bum you out, but did you know that the federal government can still access your email without a warrant? Ugh.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.

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